Opinion: Heavy on my feet

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We returned last week from visiting good friends in Florida. We all reminisced about our last vacation there several years ago, when a bad rainstorm prevented us from enjoying the nearby beach. Steve had an idea — something we could do as couples.

“Seriously,” I asked Steve, “in the middle of the afternoon? At our age? You must be kidding.”

Mary Ellen was all for it.

“Why not?” she said. “If we wait till evening, you guys will just fall asleep. Take your blue pill and let’s go.”

So, I took an Aleve for my arthritis and we headed out for a class in line dancing.

I figured it was Joy who dragged Steve along to the community center for these lessons, but Steve tells Joy he loves the activity. So, it turns out that her husband, who is a better golfer than I am and a better bowler, also is a better liar.

There were about 60 senior women in the class and a few men. I figured all the ladies were widows simply looking for something to pass the time, but out in the parking lot there were dozens of cars filled with impatient husbands peering at their iPhones or fast asleep in the driver’s seat.

Stella, the instructor, scrutinized my every move as I tried desperately to follow her directions. Slide to the left. Grapevine to the right. Cha-cha-cha. Foot forward. Pivot. Turn around. Step. Kick. When I was certain I had all the moves right, it looked like the other 65 people were doing it all wrong. And in unison. The five men in the class were eager for the session to end and to get on with their day. I knew this because they were all dancing in their golf shoes.

Stella advised me to just dance and not think too much. Too late: I was already thinking about how bad I was at this, thinking of all the people staring at me, and thinking of ways I could turn this disastrous experience into a humor column. Steve butted in and told me I wasn’t keeping time — but that wasn’t true. I knew there were 12 minutes left before this torture would finally end.

At noon, Stella excused the beginners and welcomed the intermediate class. Joy, Mary Ellen and I left, but Steve stuck around to learn some more advanced moves. About 10 minutes later, he pirouetted to the car and told me that Stella said I was the worst dancer she had ever seen. Stella may be a professional dance instructor, but that remark was way out of line!


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